How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring Species for Your Home

Gone are the days when selecting hardwoods for your home meant a slim offering of narrow planked solid oak hardwood flooring in a light tan color.  Today, there are countless types of hardwood floors to satisfy everyone’s needs for wood species, color, style, performance and budget. While having many choices is always a good thing, it can also seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to the hardwood flooring world. That’s why LIFECORE thought it would be helpful to provide a way to drill down into those options, so you can ultimately choose the BEST flooring and species for you.  Here are a few things to consider when making your selection:

Which hardwood flooring species is right for you?

First a note of definition and what we mean by species.  Hardwood flooring is available in many types of wood. From Oak to Hickory and Maple to Acacia; each species has its’ own unique characteristics and performance attributes.  Prioritizing your visual preference, as well as lifestyle and budget requirements, will help you determine which of the different wood species is right for your home. Engineered wood flooring is manufactured in many different species and with the addition of today’s high-performance finishes, those species now have the ability to perform very well for people with children and pets.

1) Where will the hardwood floors be going?

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If you plan to install the flooring in a high traffic area such as a family room or hallway, consider the hardwood flooring species that have a higher Janka hardness rating. While exotic hardwoods tend to have the highest Janka ratings, many people steer clear of them not only because of the lack of sustainability but also because of their higher price and tendency to change color or fade over time.  Fortunately, you can find the perfect alternative in several domestic and bountiful hardwood flooring species that will hold up well in high traffic areas. Oak is the standard at 1300, while Maple at 1450 and Hickory at 1820 are even harder.

If you plan to install your hardwood floors in the kitchen, you may want to select engineered hardwood with a distressed finish, which will help to mask surface wear, scuffs, and scratches.  LIFECORE’s distressed flooring’s matte finish also makes it easier to keep clean and will hide dust and dirt better than a smooth flooring finish.

If you’ll be updating your bedroom wood floors, a soft, muted whitewashed finish is a good choice. A straight-grained hardwood flooring species like Oak would create a light, airy open feel regardless of room size.  Throw a stylish area rug down in the middle for warmth and cushioning, and you’ll have the perfect bedroom floor.

2) Are you looking for the best flooring for dogs?

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Let’s face it, most homes have pets, but many homeowners understandably forget to take them into consideration when choosing flooring.  To have a home with hardwood and a dog or cat, there are tips for success, however, you can take it a step further by choosing a more rustic hardwood style and species that will keep your floors looking newer, longer. Hardwood flooring species which have knots and character marks, like LIFECORE’S Abella Acacia Luxe, will help to hide dents and scratches, and if an accident does happen, the color variations will help mask the remnants of a stain.  It is also recommended that you refer back to the Janka scale to help select a hardwood flooring species like Maple or Hickory for longer wear.

3) What is your décor style?

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While most types of hardwood floor species will work in a variety of decors, selecting them in certain colors, plank widths or styles can truly define your personal style.  Below are some examples of the best hardwood floor species, color, and style to suit your décor.

Modern- Light and dark neutrals or gray wood flooring colors are the perfect design base for a modern decor, especially if they come in a trendy, wide or narrow plank (3.5”) for a refined and streamlined look. As for hardwood flooring species, choose one with a tight, complex graining pattern like Betula.

Rustic- Wide plank Reclaimed Oak in medium to golden browns makes the perfect enhancement to a rustic décor. Rustic hardwood flooring contains knots, wormholes, checks and splits for added character and warmth.

Traditional– A great foundation for a traditional décor is a hardwood species like Hickory flooring.  Select a classic brown wood flooring with an elegant matte finish and a plank that’s a bit wider.

BoHo– When it comes to BoHo, we recommend a lighter brown hardwood floor to complement this eclectic style.  As for flooring species, lustrous Acacia wood flooring with its subtle swirling grain pattern provides personality without competing with the colorful, free-spirited décor.

Coastal– Easy, breezy, and stunning, a cocoa colored Maple hardwood species with dark streaks provides the perfect nautical element for a Coastal décor. Try one of the organic reactive hardwoods  with a wider plank to balance light-colored furniture and seaworthy blues and greens.

4) Are allergies a concern?

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Engineered flooring is recognized as being among the best flooring for asthma and allergies sufferers.  According to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), “wood floors have the added benefit of not harboring allergens, microorganisms or harmful pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors. In addition, dust, mold and animal dander contamination is minimal in homes with wood floors, which can significantly improve indoor air quality.”

LIFECORE engineered hardwood flooring takes it a step further with the ZERO-ADD technology, which means we manufacture all our hardwood species to have the lowest levels of formaldehyde on the market.

LIFECORE floors come in five hardwood floors species, ten styles, various plank widths and a range of popular colors. Learn more about our products by species and by style on our site.

One Response to “How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring Species for Your Home”

  1. I never considered using reclaimed oak for a more rustic look. I need to get a remodeling contractor for my living room. We have carpet and I want hardwood floors.


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